Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Disney Half Marathon Run down

Last week seemed to zoom by as we spent most of the week trying to catch up from being out of town during the holidays.  I had definitely allowed stress to raise its ugly head, which lead to a daily headache that would ease with tylenol/ibuprofen, but not subside.  Michelle, Sandy, and the kids arrived to pick Bennett and I up around 2:45 p.m. on Friday afternoon. I rushed to pack my things in the car, and up the stairs I went to wake Bennett up.  I hate doing that, but he decided to take his best nap of the week a couple of hours before departure (it seems to always happen that way).

The ride to Orlando was uneventful, overall.  Bennett became a little fussy, but thanks to my 6 year old nephew, Isaac, we were able to keep him satisfied.  Along with a billion other people, we arrived at ESPN's Wide World of Sports to pick up our race packets/goodie bag.  I was pleased with the organization of packet pick up, but not so pleased with the Expo or our goodie bags.  I feel like if you pay $140, + a few, the expo should be large, the goodie bag should be over the top, and the race should be FANTASTIC.  I was highly disappointed in Disney.  Our goodie bags had a very nice long sleeved Disney Half Marathon shirt, a sample of Shot Blocks, and two samples of analgesic creams.  THAT IS IT!!!  I couldn't believe.....Sorry, I am moving on.

We settled into the hotel, ate dinner, put the kids to bed, prepared our gear, and were off to bed for a 3:50 a.m. wake up time.  That's right...3:50 a.m.  The race began at 5:30 and we were to be in our corral by 5 a.m.  I had been in bed about 30 to 45 minutes when I began hearing the people above us walk back and forth, run back and forth, stomp, walk, run...you get the picture.  It was driving me crazy and in the process I woke Sam up, which also lead to his inability to sleep.  Things eventually settled, then Bennett decided to wake up at 2 a.m......TO PLAY!!!  He played and talked and laughed for a full HOUR.  Needless to say 3:50 came and I was very tired.

We were out the door by 4:15 a.m. with Sam as our chauffeur.  It was a short drive to Epcot (where we would begin), but the traffic was bumper to bumper once we got inside Disney World.  Once the time ticked to 5 a.m. (I think) Michelle and I decided to jump out of the car and speed walk to the start.  Sam was headed back to the hotel to meet up with the rest of our family, so they could return to spectate, or so we thought.  On our way to the start line we stepped in a mini-swamp (wet feet=NO FUN when preparing to run 13.1 miles), we went to the bathroom a few times, we chatted, and we people-watched.  We made it to our Corral (D) in plenty of time to see/hear the the start of the race.  The first group to go was the wheelchairs.  Over the loud speaker, the hosts yelled the countdown and BOOM! a beautiful firework display started the race.  There were 27,000+ participants.  We were the fifth wave to take off.  We were cheered across the start line by Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Goofy (I think) who were sporting their own running gear (at this point, I wish I had my camera).

We stopped at the port-a-potties during the first mile, but didn't spend more than a couple of minutes stopped.  Our plan was to run 1 mile, and walk a minute throughout the race.  I had anticipated a 11:30 minute pace according to the training runs I had done with Michelle.  This was my second half, but Michelle's first, which makes a huge difference when it comes to speed, pace, and fatigue.  We finished the first 3 miles in 36 min 20 seconds which was quite a bit slower than I had expected, but we had made a stop, so that is probably the reason for the extra minute.  We both felt good during the first 3 miles and enjoyed listening to bands, seeing a few Disney characters, and the Epcot hot air balloon.  Much to my surprise, we also saw Sam at about 1.2 miles.  He ran with us for a few minutes telling us they wouldn't let him out of the park and that my in-laws were taking care of Bennett, so not to worry.

At mile 6, we were averaging an 11:36 min/mile.  Sometime around mile 5 my left hip and knee began hurting, but not bad enough to cause me to stop.....besides that I felt great.  We ran through Magic Kingdom during this stretch which was my favorite part, besides the finish.  It was fun to see all of the spectators, to run through the castle, and to see the park without all of the patrons pushing you in every direction.  However, there were so many runners that we were in a pack the entire race, causing it to feel like we were being pushed around (especially when the course was narrow).

One of the biggest highlights of the race was passing Al Roker from the Today show between mile 7 and 8.  It put a little hop in my step....The pain in my left hip and knee continued, but at this point, our pace allowed me to keep going without much difficulty.  I stayed a little in front of Michelle, dropping back occasionally to encourage her to keep pushing on.  Mile 9 through 11.5 of the race had a very boring view.  Once we entered Epcot it got a little better, but we still spent a lot of time running through parking lots and around loading docks.  Again disappointing to spend $140+.

We saw Sam again at mile 12, which made me smile and get a little emotional.  Overall, I had felt good the whole race and I knew I could finish, but I never thought I would be back to running this distance only 9 months after Bennett was born.  When I saw Sam I felt proud that I had done it....with his and Michelle's help.

 We finished the race in 2 hours 31 minutes, which was an 11:32 minute/mile pace.  You can check out Michelle's account HERE.

Since the race, my left foot has been KILLING me.  I have been trying to rest, ice, stretch, gently massage, take meds, and stay hopeful that it will pass.  I hope it does, because I have a goal.....I want to run the Gasparilla Half Marathon with Sam on February 26th.  I just want to see how fast I can go.  I know if Sam runs with me, he will push me harder than I can push myself.  However, I must get this left leg/foot pain under control, so I can get back to training.
We had a great experience, but it was because we did it together and accomplished our goal.  I am a fan of Disney, but I would not recommend this race.  It is difficult for spectators to get around.  The traffic is horrible.  The course has a few advantages, but overall it is on the highway....and it is way too expensive for what you get.  I ran the Music City Half Marathon a few years ago and would highly recommend it.


Carolina said...

Loved reading this today!! I was thinking about you Saturday morning and hoping you had a good race. You should be proud for running a half marathon on such little sleep.

Catching up on blogs this morning, as I haven't been online much these past few days. Hope you have a great week and your foot starts feeling better :)

katy said...

Congratulations! I am so impressed and this gives me motivation to keep up with my training (just started) for the Derby Festival mini here in Louisville! (As long as it doesn't affect my milk supply.) :)

Sandy said...

Thanks to you, Michelle, and Sam for your detailed telling and showing.

Those accounts, the pictures of the post race wide smiles of accomplishment, and the video from Sam, which I've played 4-5 times already, wonderfully fill in for not being there.

I am putting the Gasparilla half on my calendar. I think it will be great fun for you to chase the wind so close to your own neighborhood!

Discovery School at First Baptist Heath said...

I am working on the tutorial right now.. Hopefully wll be posted today.. Jill's was so perfectly written so I am trying to approach it from a different direction...Sorry for the delay

Gym Rat said...

I was in the Disney Half as well (also started in Corrall D). I was running with Team in Training, and our meet-up time to get the bus to the start was at 2:45, so we spent a ridiculous amount of time standing around.... This was my first half-marathon, and I was told this wasn't normal... standing in one place for several hours before we started kinda killed my legs and dramatically effected my race. I have nothing to compare it to, and I did have a great time, and was so proud to finish (and raise over $4000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society), but I agree with a lot of the issues you mentioned! Congrats on finishing though!

Stephanie said...

I am SO impressed! As a girl who can't run a block and supposes I never will, marathoners just AMAZE me! Congratulations!

{Also amazed at your accomplishment on zero sleep!!! WOW!}

Mel -Tall Mom on the Run said...

GREAT recap.. and good to know about the cost vs. value.. What a great idea to run/walk I think more people should take on that method.

Love the pictures!!

Tall Mom

Kindra said...

It's great that you took the time to record the details of this accomplishment! Just make sure next time you don't spend the day in a theme park afterwards! Or we'll put you in B's stroller :) So proud of you!!

Carrie said...

Great job, Amber and Michelle!! :)

Sarah Coats said...

Yay Ambo! I am so proud of you! What an accomplishment...especially with a 9 month old. I am encouraged by your determination! Miss you!

Daniele Valois said...

Hello! Courtney, Click it up a Notch, told me to come check out this post. Then, I realized that I have been to your blog before! I just signed up for my first ever 1/2 marathon and I am not in the shape I used to be. I wrote a little blurb about it the other day, and needless to say, I am excited and scared. I have so many training questions, and when I look them up, I am overwhelmed. Basically, I am starting off completely new. I can just now run a mile. Yup, just a mile! I have till May 15th. If you have any sites or training advice, I would love to know! I am off to look up your friend's post.